James Gallagher's American debut couldn't possibly have gone any better
He's from Strabane and he's an animal, that's why they call James Gallagher 'the Strabanimal'.
SBG starlet James Gallagher (7-0) made very light work of Chinzo Machida (5-3) at Bellator 180 in Madison Square Garden.
The 20-year-old took the centre of the cage as soon as the opening buzzer sounded, while Chinzo's calm demeanour from the get-go was reminiscent of his former UFC light-heavyweight champion brother Lyoto.
Although Gallagher rushed in, he showed real maturity to not engage in the striking against a high-level karate practitioner like Machida. He remained composed, found his flow and found home with the first strike of the bout before catching a kick and taking Machida down to the mat.
Gallagher breezed into mount and went to work with his ground-and-pound, opening up a cut above his 40-year-old opponent's eye. As the blood began to seep, Gallagher took his back, secured the rear-naked choke and forced the tap at 2:22 of the opening round.
(VIDEO) James Gallagher submits Chinzo Machida via first round rear naked choke. #Bellator180 @StrabanimalMMA pic.twitter.com/eMGYsWVQ5t
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) June 25, 2017
The win for Gallagher marked a successful debut on American soil. It also saw him maintain his pristine professional record and score his fourth-straight win under the Bellator banner.
Speaking to Jimmy Smith, Gallagher oozed confidence.
"I'm always here for the first-round finish. When I say I do, I always come and do, every time."
After the fight, Gallagher hopped out of the cage to go embrace his family in the crowd.
Those @StrabanimalMMA post-fight vibes! #BellatorNYC pic.twitter.com/4eIKukCiUk
— Spike Sports (@SpikeSports) June 25, 2017